Irrigation is truly a family affair for father-son duo Jeff and Tyler Hewitt of Sprinkler Solutions of Florida. Jeff and Tyler recently traveled from the Sunshine State to attend a three-day Advanced Controllers and Decoder Systems Product Expert Workshop from Hunter University at Hunter Industries headquarters in San Marcos, California.
Jeff is president of Sprinkler Solutions, which is based in Plant City. He has been in the irrigation industry for more than three decades. This trip marked his second time attending a Hunter Expert Workshop in five years. Jeff’s son, Tyler, recently graduated from high school and is following in his father’s footsteps. Not only is Tyler, 19, the youngest Hunter Expert, he has also obtained several Florida Nursery Growers Association certifications and was in the top 4 of the national finalist for FFA’s Landscape Management Proficiency Award. Jeff and Tyler reflected on their training experience, the changing landscape of the irrigation industry, and the progressive influence of the younger generation.
“There are a lot of hidden features in the products that I didn’t know about or hadn’t used before coming to this training,” said Tyler. “I don’t always have time to focus on every single controller that Hunter offers, so coming here and having seat time with all of them allows me to really learn about the product.”
In addition to the hands-on controller education, Jeff reflected on the expertise and support that was readily available during the training. “Having technical knowledge as a resource in the classroom at any time is helpful,” said Jeff. “If you need it, it’s there. By coming to this training for a second time, I’m here to support Tyler. He’s learning the good habits.” Jeff continued to stress the importance of comprehensive technical knowledge, as he indicated the industry and his company’s business structure are headed in that direction.
“We are becoming a technological entity as much as anything else,” he said. “The industry is looked at differently now by landscape architects and contractors than it was before. Hunter is coming out with great products that are keeping up with the pace. I owe it to my customers and to my business to make sure I stay ahead of that curve.” Constant product and software evolution has led many industry veterans to turn to the younger generation for support. When Tyler was kickstarting his career, Jeff assigned him a large two-wire project to test his capabilities and advance his involvement. Tyler said he “jumped right into it” and that two-wire and the technical side of the business are where he sees his future.
“The takeaway for younger adults entering the industry is that there’s a lot of technology here,” said Jeff. “If you aren’t scared to get dirty, there’s a lot of rewarding features to the mechanics of the industry.” Many irrigation professionals have become wary of the technical difficulties that often accompany technical advances, but Jeff rests easy in the first-class customer service and support he receives from his Hunter network. “I can’t think of a time I’ve had a problem and couldn’t get a hold of my sales rep, field service manager, or someone who could help,” he said. “People here at Hunter are approachable, and if there’s a problem, I can get my problem solved. This is my fourth visit to Hunter, and they haven’t let me down yet.”
Here at Hunter, we are thankful for Jeff, Tyler, and all our dedicated customers who continue to lead the industry forward. By combining the robust educational opportunities of Hunter University with the experience of Jeff’s generation and the technical how-how of incoming professionals like Tyler, the future of our industry remain bright.
To learn more about Expert Training opportunities, contact your local Hunter Sales Manager.